It was about 2 years ago when I made the decision to finally upgrade to using ‘clip in’ Bike shoes. If you’re getting serious about Triathlon or cycling, ‘clip in’ shoes are a must. They allow you to both push AND pull the pedals when cycling, which means a much more efficient transfer of power between you and your bike. This works because your shoes are ‘locked’ into the bike pedals, a factor which is no problem to most as you can simply clip out! But when you take into account my innate lack of balance, this was always going to be a recipe for a disaster…
As I left the bike shop with my new bike shoes under one arm I felt quietly confident. I arrived home and wasted no time in throwing on all of my cool cycling gear. It was time to take my boxed up excitement and hit the road! I donned my yellow and black ‘Skins’ shorts, a bright red cycling top and some slick wrap around Oakley shades. My pricey new Heart Rate monitor caught the light as I pushed a bottle full of carbonated’ lucozade sport’ into the bikes bottle cage.
All that was left to do was to wheel my bike into the lift and made my way to the underground car-park of our building. As I arrived in the car-park I clipped in and did a lap to make sure I felt comfortable in the new bike shoes before heading outside. Our car-park has an electric gate which residents can open using either a code or a ‘remote’. Being the lazy individual that I am I decided to keep doing slow laps of the car-park until someone else used their buzzer to open the gate.
It wasn’t long before an elderly woman got into her car and began to drive slowly towards the gate. I siezed my chance and began to roll along in front of her as the gates began to open. Together we got closer and closer to the gates, but they seemed to be opening very slowly. I began to realise that I was quickly running out of carpark and started to slow down. Bad move…
As I waited for the electric gate to open I ran out of momentum and tried to put my foot down. The problem? I was still clipped in!
I can only imagine what happened from the perspective of the old woman in the car behind me. She would have seen a guy, fully kitted out in brightly coloured technical cycling gear suddenly and for no apparent reason just fall over with a surprised shout of “fuuuuuuuuuuucccccc*!!!” I hit the ground with a pathetic crash, my arms splayed out in all directions. To make matters worse I was still clipped into the bike, meaning that I was effectively trapped. The carbonated lucozade sport in my bike bottle began to intermittently explode from the top of the mouth piece, spurting all over me for what seemed like an eternity!
Lying there in a pool of my own sports drink, while that old lady looked on in total bewilderment, I couldn’t help but start laughing at how pathetic I looked. I had learned my lesson – always clip out in plenty of time!
I eventually managed to unclip from my bike and give the old woman a friendly wave as she drove off shaking her head. She see’s me around the apartment block sometimes and I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m nuts. The truth though is that she witnessed an important rite of passage for all budding cyclist – the moment they realised you have to unclip!:o)
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